Thursday, September 27, 2012


Currently... goals.  It is still incredibly unbelievable to me that in the middle 
of this gigantic shit storm that has overtaken our lives these last few months, I recently got 
a significant job promotion.  My company is growing and expanding by leaps and 
bounds and recently opened up a new branch 10 minutes away from our house.  Guess 
who was selected to be the field RN for the entire branch?  ME!  Yes, the woman with two 
small kids and a sick husband has been entrusted to lead a team, open up a brand new 
office, and expand a company.  On top of that, I have also been placed in charge of training 
all new nurses that come through our division.  What?  Apparently I have everyone fooled 
into believing that I am totally put together and trust worthy.  I am counting every single 
one of my lucky stars and working my fingers to the bone to not let these people who have 
so graciously put their trust in me down.  What an amazing opportunity.
Reading..."The Maze Runner" series by James Dashner.  It is an incredibly 
bizarre series that leaves me feeling both intrigued and frustrated simultaneously.  I just 
can't get enough of post-Apocalyptic world stories.
Listening to...The Civil Wars.  This is some of the most beautiful music I've 
heard in a long time, completely stripped down and wrapped in love and passion and 
beauty.  They make me miss my husband's guitar playing but also inspire me to pick up 
my own guitar again and bust out some harmonies with my lover. daughters.  They are both at such interesting stages of their 
lives: Isabelle has matured so much and is a wonderful conversationalist.  We sit together 
at the kitchen table every night, doing homework and drinking herbal tea.  She loves 
blueberry vanilla with a teaspoon of local honey.  She feels big with her very own mug, 
loves that we have such a special time to share with one another every night.  Brees is 
really starting to communicate and has finally started talking.  She can say at least a 
dozen words now, my favorite being "mama".  That moment when your baby looks at 
you, reaches her hands up, and says "mama": it's soul touching.


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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Twelve Years

Twelve years ago,I married my best friend.  Of all the journeys our love has taken us on, I
feel that this was the year we learned what marriage is truly all about.  In sickness and
in health, for better or for worse, we have found ourselves clinging to one another for dear
life, willing ourselves and our love to be stronger than the tragedy that threatened to tear
us down.  I will never forget that day in the desert and the feeling I had when I thought that
I may never see my husband again.  As I knelt in the dirt and the rocks and the sand, my
legs and arms and hands covered in his blood, literally holding his life in my hands, I felt like
a piece of my heart was slowly dying right alongside his.  The man I have loved since I was
19 years old, who has taught me to love myself as much as he has loved me, was moments
away from dying and all I could do was pray and scream and will him to stay awake.  I
knew that if he died, if he left me on this earth without his companionship, I knew that part
of me would die as well.
But he didn't die.  He lived, he made it through the most horrific accident I have ever
seen. And we are so blessed to be able to celebrate yet another year of marriage together.  

Twelve years of marriage and everything has changed: everything we thought would
happen, everything we planned for came crashing down the day of the accident.  We
were stripped bare as a family, the emotional toll of this experience heavier than we
could have ever expected.  I pushed myself to the absolute limit: working to pay the
bills, caring for Shawn and his multitude of injuries, running our home, raising our girls.
And Shawn pushed himself as well, struggling to get well despite an uncertain future and
a terrible prognosis.  He has always been so strong and invincible and this accident tore
him apart both mentally and physically.  There were days when he felt like I was doing
too much and he wasn't doing enough, he felt inadequate and insecure.  And I told him,
"Your only job right now is to focus on getting better.  Until you're ready to pick up part of
the load, I've got this".

Twelve years of marriage and we have learned so much more about each other: our
strengths, our weaknesses, our deepest and darkest fears all came rushing forward.  We
yelled and screamed and cried and hurt each other, the stress and overwhelming
exhaustion sometimes getting the best of us.  But then we threw all that aside and picked
each other back up, wrapping our arms around the hope and promise that we would make
it through, one way or another.  We found strength and comfort in the constant that is
our love, believing that nothing could tear us apart, not even this.
Twelve years of marriage and I am so thankful for our friendship.  The fact that we not
only LOVE each other but we actually LIKE each other has carried us through some very
dark times.  I will never forget those late nights in the hospital: sneaking down to the
cafeteria for ice cream, cuddling up in Shawn's hospital bed, watching reality TV and
laughing so loudly that the nurses would pop their heads into our room to see what all the
fuss was about.  We experienced a new level of intimacy as I learned to shave my
husband's beard, washed the blood and pain off his body, held his broken hand as he
walked down the hall for the first time.  I experienced the deepest sense of pride as I
witnessed him fight for his life, willing himself to get through this ordeal so that he could
return home to the three women who love him.

Twelve years of marriage and we know now more than ever how precious life is,
how necessary it is to appreciate each day and live it to the fullest.  Last year, I reflected
on how much we appreciate our alone time as well as being together.  These last few
months, however, we are inseparable.  We follow each other around the house, talking
and touching and staying connected.  Not because we have to, but because we want to.
We need each other right now, we need the security of our companionship.  Never has
holding my husband's hand felt so significant: I held his hand at the accident, held it in
the hospital, I held his hand as we drove home to Louisiana, held it in dozens of
doctor's offices.  And I will continue to hold his hand as we fight through this time, fight for
our marriage and our family and the life we were given a second chance to live.  Twelve
years of marriage and I am sure of one true thing: we were always and forever meant to
be, hands bound, Shawn and Liv together.  And our story is only beginning.


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Friday, September 21, 2012

Shawn Is Free

Today, Shawn got his neck brace off and the very exciting news that the fracture in his neck 
is almost completely healed.  I finally get to wrap my arms around my husband's neck, lay 
my head on his chest, and watch him smile with the sweet relief of knowing that yet 
another injury is behind us.  This weekend, we will celebrate our 12 year wedding 
anniversary.  Have I mentioned how head over heels in love I am with this handsome 
guy?  Here's to a weekend of celebration: for all that we have, for all that we are, and 
for sticking together through it all.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wordful Wednesday

I don't craft, I don't sew, I know nothing about painting.  What I can do, however, is sit at 
the kitchen table with my daughters, surround them with all the crayons, markers, 
magazine clippings, and glitter I can find, and let them go.  I can pour myself a cup of tea, 
read a book between helping them cut and paste, and take lots of photos of these 
precious moments.  There came a time in my mothering journey where I let go of the idea 
of being the Martha Stewart mom, that's just not me.  My Pinterest boards are full of 
recipes and home DIY projects, things I know I will actually be able to accomplish 
without burning a hole in my hand with a glue hand that I don't know how to use.  I'm 
not disappointed by that reality or even embarrassed by it: how liberating!  I'm a 
"throw everything on the kitchen table and make some shit out of it" kind of mom.  
Those walls I used to obsess over being perfectly cleaned and maintained: they are 
now covered in hand prints and psychedelic colored Barbies.  The floors I used to 
vacuum almost daily, stressing over stains and scratches: they are now littered with 
Cheerios and unmentionable debris.  I read a quote today that read "Excuse the mess, 
the children are busy making memories": this really sums it all up.  Make lots of messes, 
little girls.  Color outside the lines and break a few rules now and then.  I can't teach you how 
to knit or make pom poms out of paper, but I can teach you how to laugh and sing and 
dance like no one is watching.  That's the kind of mom I am, the kind of mom you 
have inspired me to be. 

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Liv and Belle Cook: Red Beans

With football season here and the hope of cooler weather upon us, it's time to bring out
my favorite winter recipes: gumbo, chili, and our family's all time favorite red beans and
rice.  Red beans and rice are a Louisiana staple, one of those meals that fills your home
with amazing smells and can feed a huge crowd on a small budget.  It's the perfect meal to
make on a busy family day as you literally throw everything into a big pot and let it go,
taking breaks between your favorite football games or around the house projects to stir it
all together.  Here we share our family recipe for red beans and rice.
1 lb dried red beans
8 cups water
2 large white onions, chopped
1 large green bellpepper, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Few shakes of Tabasco sauce
1 lb of smoked sausage or 1 meaty ham bone, your choice
Chop smoked sausage into small pieces, brown in a skillet with a few shakes of your
favorite Cajun seasoning.  I love Slap Ya Mama (Yes, that is really what it's called).  You
may also use ham in your beans.  Crack the bone and drop it in the pot: my grandmother
said that the bone marrow added flavor.  You can also leave the meat out all together for
a vegetarian dish packed with flavor.
Chop up all of your veggies.  I just purchased this Vidalia Chop Wizard and LOVE it.  I can
chop up all my veggies in no time and it doubles as a measuring cup.  It's super easy to
clean, too.

Place sausage, veggies, and water in a big, heavy pot.  Bring to a slow boil, stir, cover, 
lower heat.  Let simmer for 6-8 hours.  Stir occasionally throughout cooking time.  Tip: 
you can cut your cooking time in half by soaking your dried red beans in a bowl full of 
water overnight.  Also, you can throw this whole recipe in your crockpot if you have to 
leave home.  Just set on low heat and cook for 8 hours.
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{Ask your Cajun Papa to taste test for you for good measure!}
Now serve over a bed of rice with a side of cornbread and enjoy!


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Friday, September 14, 2012


One day this week, as I was buzzing around the house, methodically performing my daily
tasks, my ears perked up at the sound of something that has been missing from our home
for months: the sound of my husband's guitar.  I dropped my basket, ran into the den,
and gasped when I saw Shawn, strumming his beloved guitar.  Isabelle had wandered into
the room as well and immediately sat down in front of the drums, keeping time to her
Daddy's steady beat.
Strum, strum, strum with one hand.  And with each strum you feel more alive, more
like yourself.  With each strum, you believe that you will rise again.  As the sounds of
the Squier  noisily fill the room, you forget the quiet, dark hours that have stolen your
days.  You forget, if but for a moment, where you are and what has happened.  You just
do what you know how to do: you strum.  With one hand, you make do.  You create
something beautiful with what you have been given.  Because that is who you are.  You
are bound and determined to write a new song, to play a new tune, to strum your guitar
like you were born to do, one way or another.
And we were there to witness this moment.  Isabelle, with her natural gift of rhythm,
thumped on those drums to keep up with your sound.  "Keep going, Daddy.  You've got
this", she cheered you on.  Clapping, singing, arms held high: you've got this.
Keep strumming, you rambling man.  Your song is not yet finished.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Women

My very best girlfriends and I grew up right down the street from each other.  We've
known each other forever, or since forever first began in my childhood memories.  My
high school years are a blur of late night giggle fests, long car rides with the windows
rolled down, and these three beautiful girls: Jessica, Jolie, and Ashley.  These three
women know me inside and out, backwards and forwards.  They have been the
undeniable constant in my life throughout the last 20 years, the four of us ebbing and
flowing in and out of each other's daily lives as we move from one phase to the next.  They
are the women every woman should be so lucky to have.  And during this most recent
difficult time in my life, they have been with us every step of the way.
This past weekend, we spent a lovely Louisiana Saturday night in the company of these
three gems, the husbands, and our tribe of children.  Conversation is effortless when you
are with friends such as these: I never fear judgement or criticism, negativity has no
place when the four of us are together.  We can just BE, with all the mess and chaos going
on around us we can be free to be ourselves.  
A supervisor told me recently in reference to a very catty and drama filled co-worker,
"Oh,  that's just how women are".  I smiled to myself, feeling so completely blessed to
know better.  No, that's not how women are.  Not the women I am lucky enough to call
my friends.  When women come together with the intentions of bringing each other up 
and making each other stronger, leaving their egos and insecurities at the door, they 
become a force to be reckoned with.  It's about having a gracious and servant heart, 
accepting differences and celebrating each other's successes.  It's about watching each
other grow and evolve and become the people we were always meant to be.  Thank you,
my beautiful sisters, for blessing me with such love.
From rebellious and wild free spirited flower power tree huggers...

To slightly more calm and serene free spirited flower power tree huggers...


It was a really beautiful night with our second family.

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